Getting a Second Opinion
Receiving a diagnosis of osteosarcoma can be overwhelming and often you will be given a lot of information to digest. It is understandable to want a second opinion especially if treatment options are limited. Having your case reviewed by a second doctor may provide new insight into treatment options, especially in more complex conditions such as osteosarcoma. It can also help you to feel confident with the treatment plan if the second opinion recommends the same course of action. This resource provides information to help you decide whether to seek a second opinion and how to go about it.
Remember you can always ask for a second opinion and most doctors will support you with this.
Things to Consider
There are many benefits to getting a second opinion including potential new treatment options, awareness of available clinical trials and increased confidence in medical decisions. However, there are several things to be aware of when seeking a second opinion.
- Seeking a second opinion can be time consuming. This is an important consideration as often doctors advise to start treatment for osteosarcoma as soon as possible. Therefore, if seeking a second opinion will delay treatment it is important to discuss with your doctor the impact, if any, this delay could have.
2. Most clinicians will discuss medical cases in a multidisciplinary team meeting (also known as an MDT). In these meetings doctors come together to discuss and decide on treatment plans specific to an individual’s case. Additionally, doctors will sometimes reach out to external doctors who are experts in a specific area for a second opinion. Therefore, It can be useful to ask who else has been involved in the treatment plan and whether a second opinion has already been sought.
3. Sometimes asking for further clarity may increase confidence in the decisions being made. Sitting down with your doctor and asking them to explain how they reached a decision can help you to decide whether a second opinion could be useful.
Second opinions can be very useful and open new doors, but it’s important to discuss options with your doctors and make a decision which is right for you.
How to Get a Second Opinion
When looking for a second opinion the first point of contact is your medical team. Firstly, they will be able to answer your questions and provide details on who was involved in the decision making. They then may be able to advise you on an osteosarcoma specialist(s) or sarcoma specialist centre who can review your case and advise on the next steps.
If your doctor is unsure of who to recommend, discussing options with a sarcoma charity in your country can be useful. They will likely be able to signpost towards sarcoma experts. We have a comprehensive list of sarcoma organisations across the globe.
If you are seeking a second opinion it can be useful to have a copy of your medical records to share with doctors. Visit our medical records page for information on how to access medical records.
The Sarcoma Alliance provide travel grants for patients in the USA seeking a second opinion further afield.
The London Sarcoma service often receives requests for a second opinion and has information and guidance including a link to a support line for UK patients.
The Gustave Roussy cancer hospital in France offers a second opinion service in French and English.
“It’s that connection between the patient and the team and myself and also the interplay between looking after a teenager and their parents and the rest of the family I found really rewarding”
Dr Sandra Strauss, UCL
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